U.S. stock index futures were higher Sunday evening, reversing losses from Friday's session, as more than 600 companies prepare to report earnings this week.
On Friday, The Dow Jones Industrial average was lower by 280 points to close at 17,826.30 and the S&P 500 lost 23.81 points to close at 2,081.18. The Nasdaq lost 75.97 points to finish at 4,931.81, while the Russell 2000 lost 21.04 to close at 1,251.85.
Tonight, the Dow futures edged higher by 28 points, up about 0.16% near 7:30 p.m. in New York, with other index futures also higher. S&P 500 E-mini futures were up 0.19% and Nasdaq 100 E-mini futures were higher by 0.1%.
The euro remained almost unchanged against the dollar and the pound was slightly higher by 0.03%.
In China, the reserve-requirement ratio will be lowered 1 percentage point effective April 20, according to the People's Bank of China, Bloomberg reported today. This is the second reduction this year and the largest since November 2008. The level will decline to 18.5%, still high by global standards, based on previous statements.
Looking ahead, key reports to watch this week include IBM (IBM), Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) Coca-Cola (KO), McDonald's (MCD), Qualcomm (QCOM), General Motors (GM), Google (GOOGL), PepsiCo (PEP) and Procter & Gamble (PG).
Analysts are expecting IBM to post a year-over-year increase in earnings per share and a decline in revenue for the most recent quarter.
Jim Cramer recently commented on IBM stock.
"IBM has to grow the consulting side of the big four trends and Microsoft has to push the software side, but none seems to be able to move as fast as, say, companies like salesforce.com, ServiceNow or Skyworks Solutions. All these three companies get the next generation, saw it coming, and can really be of assistance to clients in navigating the new world while making, developing and combining the new world of devices and then figuring out the best way to harness the fire hose of data they generate," Cramer wrote on Real Money.
GM, a holding of Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS, is expected to report first quarter earnings of 96 cents on revenue of $37.61 billion on Thursday. Last week, Reuters reported that a U.S. bankruptcy judge had ruled that General Motors can keep its bankruptcy shield, which allows it to block potentially billions of dollars in legal claims by hundreds of customers seeking damages over a defective ignition switch.
The judge handed down a dense ruling saying he could not find any instances where GM had committed fraud upon the court when it was going through the bankruptcy process. This is key, Jack Mohr, director of Research for Action Alerts Plus wrote in the weekly roundup. The shield prevents customers from suing for compensation for declining resale values and injuries tied to older GM compact cars that were equipped with the defective ignition switch.
"We are obviously happy to see this clear overhang not only removed, but removed without any damages. GM is now fully protected against the pre-2009 claims and as a result will avoid billions of dollars of legal costs. Even more, GM will no longer have to expend its energy and resources toward fighting the hundreds of claims, which is not only exhausting, expensive and time- consuming but very detrimental to the company's brand/perception. Our target is $45," Mohr added.
Google, another Action Alerts PLUS holding, is expected to report first quarter earnings of $6.60 on revenue of $17.52 billion on Thursday.
Google shares traded lower last week after the EU's Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, formally charged the company with violating the European Union's antitrust laws by "abusing its dominance in web searches to the detriment of competitors."
The suit would become the biggest competition battle in the EU since its antitrust crusade against Microsoft (MSFT) a decade ago.
"We believe Google has a very strong defense against the EU's allegations," Mohr wrote. "We believe Google will at the very least be able to reach a reasonable settlement. Our target is $600, he added.
It's crunch time and that means it's time to do your stock homework. This week's reports are the information that counts, and it will surely guide our way.